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Full text of "The wonders of thread : a gift of textiles from the collection of Elizabeth Gordon, exhibition Dec. 12, 1964 through Feb. 23, 1965"

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|iE VV^ONDERS Of THREAD 






A Gift off textiles 

ffrom the Coiiection off 

Elizabeth Gordon 



COOPER U 




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The Wonders of Thread 

A GIFT OF TEXTILES FROM 
THE COLLECTION OF ELIZABETH GORDON 



Exhibition Deceuiher 12, 1964 
.^^^]^\THS0 / : through February 23, ig6$ 

m 5W )) 



Cooper Union Museum Third Avenue at Seventh Street, New York 



The printing of this catalogue has been 

made possible through the generosity oj members 

of the Needle and Bobbin Club. 



Cover: Detail of red crocus, No. io 



Copyright © 1964 by the Cooper Union Mnseu, 



Introduction 



An interest in the multitudinous ways that thread can be manipulated is almost as reward- 
ing as an interest in food. But textiles have an edge. They are as consumable as food but, 
unlike food, they can be preserved intact so they can be sampled again and again for years. 

You use textiles in all aspects of life. You wear them, or sleep under them. You hang 
them on the wall as ornament, or use them to temper the light from windows. You walk 
on them, sit on them, wipe your lips with them at nreal time. 

They can be mundane (as everyone knows) but they can also be electric in the way 
they can stimulate you — intellectually, emotionally, tactily. Becoming aware of textiles 
as more than mundane necessities can add a whole new dimension to your daily life. To 
pursue the better versions in the many categories is fun and aesthetically rewarding. 

Quite apart from the pleasures that derive from daily use, there are other pleasures 
that accrue from the way they can open up your cultural understanding. When you get 
really interested in textiles, you start noticing how differently different cultures manipu- 
late thread and color. From the textiles of a country (or ethnic region or historical epoch) 
you can deduce the kind and type of civilization that produced them. This is why historians 
rank textiles, as illuminating instruments, alongside the written documents of a culture. 

Even in contemporary times, the currently-produced textiles of a country can be 
expressive of a yeastiness of growth and development not being recorded by political 
news or social commentary. They are excellent indicators of the metabolic health of the 
technical and artistic aspects of a society. 

I hope that this small part of my collection, shown here, will give you the impetus 
to start investigating this area of life for yourself. Even though it is generally ignored by 
art critics and art scholars, this makes it more fun for you to forge ahead. For you will 
not meet with an "Establishment" which has already written the rules about who is IN 
and who is OUT. Nothing but your own good sense and artistic awareness need be your 
guide. 

ELIZABETH GORDON 



The gift by Elizabeth Gordon of textiles from her collection is of significant interest to 
the Museum, for it includes excellent works in areas in which the Museum's collections 
have needed the addition of strong examples. 

In a visually exciting group of weaving and needlework of the 20th century the debt 
of today's artists to the technology of other times is apparent. But more important, the 
special expression of the style of our own time is here represented by innovations in ma- 
terial, by color choices, by arrangements of spatial distribution, by scale and, in a number 
of cases, by the creation of textiles as a pure art form. 

The textiles in another group, primarily Japanese and from various periods, stress 
technical refinement. Evident in most of these examples is the elegant understatement, so 
coveted by the Japanese people, where design, technique and texture have been consciously 
concealed only in order to be discovered by the discerning. 

The sensibilities of Elizabeth Gordon have been touched both by skill of technique 
and by artistry of design in the production of textiles. She has responded to the appeal of 
superior craftsmanship and of artistic merit by acquiring these textiles for her own enjoy- 
ment. It is the pleasure of the Museum now to be able to show these works to the public 
as a result of Elizabeth Gordon's generous wish to share them. 

CHRISTIAN ROHLFING 



Catalogue of the Exhibition 




No. 3 



EVA ANTTILA (FinhiicJ) 



1. Hanging, Finnish forest 

Wool and novelty yam, tapestry weave in shades of 
brown and other colors. 1953. ig64-24-43 

2. Hanging, thumbeline 

Wool, synthetic fibers and novelty yam, tapestry weave 
in pale shades of blue, violet and green with additional 
colors. 1948. ig64-24-46 

3. Hanging, PROFILES* 

Wool, synthetic hbers and novelty yam, tapestry weave 
in white, red, pink, green, violet and other colors. 1952. 

ig6 4-2 4-47 



4. Hanging, evening 

Wool and novelty yarn, tapestry weave in violet, pink, 
yellow, blue, orange, grey and brown. 1949. 

ig64-24-4S 

5. Hanging, flowered cliff 

Wool and novelty yarn, tapestry weave in green, violet, 
pink, blue, yellow, brown, orange and white. 195 1. 

ig64-24-4g 

6. Hanging, the white veil 

Wool and synthetic fibers, tapestry weave in pale shades 
of pink, blue, orange and brown. 1950. 1^64-24-83 



ilhistrarcd 




No. 7 




HELEN ENGELBERT (Norway) 

7. Table runner* 

Linen damask in yellow, grey and white. 1950-1960. 

1964-24-33 

8. Tray cloth 

Linen damask in grey and wliite. 1950-1960. 

1964-24-61 



MARTA MAAS FJETTERSTROM (Sweden) 

9. Rug* 

Various colored wools in tapestry weave. 1937. 

1964-24-62 



ANN-MARI FORSBERG (Sweden) 

10. Hanging, red CROCUS* 

Wool and linen, tapestry weave in red, violet, wliite, 

green, orange, grey and brown. 1950-1960. 1964-24-41 



VIOLA GRASTEN (Sweden) 

II. Hanging, TWO ships* 

Wool and linen, slit tapestry weave in red, dark blue, 

yellow, pink and shades of grey. 1951. 1964-24-50 



DORA JUNG (Fiiihiid) 

12. Hanging, doves 

Linen damask in grey, white, and spotted areas in various 
colors. About 1958. 1964-24-34 

13. Table cloth and napkin 

Linen damask in dark and light brown. About 1956. 

1964-24-33 A andB 

14. Table mat 

Linen damask in black and grey. About 1954. 

1964-24-36 

15. Table cloth and napkin 

Linen damask in black and grey. About 1956. 

1964-24-37 A andB 



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No. 22 



1 6. Table mat aiid napkin 

Linen damask in cream color and white. About 1950. 

1964-24-^$ A and B 

17. Tray cloth, birds* 

Linen damask in white and light brown. About 1947. 

ig64-24-_';g 

18. Tray cloth, GIRLS and cats 

Linen damask in white and light brown. About 1947- 
1948. 1964-24-60 



MARISKA KARASZ (United States) 

19. Hanging, fields from the air 

Natural color hncn, embroidered with wools and other 
heavy yarns, in shades of green, brown, grey and white; 
abstract pattern of leaves. 1950-1953. 1964-24-^9 

20. Hanging, composition in squares 
Grey-green linen, embroidered in various colored yarns, 
string, cord and couched tape, in wliite and pale shades 
of yellow, green and orange. 1950-1953. 1964-24-^6 

2t. Hooked rug, companion piece to number 20, 
composition in squares, repeating pattern and color 
scheme. Made by Edward Fields. 1950-1953. 

196 4-2 4- J 7 

22. Panel, calla lily* 

Cream color silk embroidered in cotton, silk and wool 
yarns of various weights, in white and shades of yellow, 
green, brown and grey. 195 1. 1964-24-38 

23. Hanging, exercise in abstraction 

Brown hnen embroidered in wools and metaUic and 
other threads, in shades of brown, red, green and grey; 
geometric pattern. 1950-1953. 1964-24-40 

24. Stole 

Light blue cotton, the ends embroidered with various 
yams, in shades of blue, brown and white ; pattern of 
freely designed feathers. 1953. 1964-3^-12 

25. Panel 

Pale blue wool and silk, embroidered m wool, chenille 
and metal in hght shades of green, blue, grey and wliite; 
abstract pattern incorporating letters in white, Eliza- 
beth; in corner, love mk. L954. 1964-35-13 



26. Pillow cover 

Blue linen, embroidered in white string in pattern of cir- 
cular loops. Fringed on four sides. 1952. 1964-33-10 

27. Pillow cover 

Blue linen, embroidered in light blue and white string in 
net effect. Fringed on four sides. 1952. 1964-35-9 

28. Panel, feathers 

Linen einbroidered in various colored wools ; freely de- 
signed feather pattern. 1952. 1964-35-14 

29. Place mat and napkin 

Brown hnen embroidered in wliite cotton and linen; 
wheat motif. L952. 1964-35-16 Amid B 

30. Place mat 

Cream color linen, apphque pattern of green, gold and 
red braid and corner squares worked with metallic thread 
of green and red. Napkin of natural color linen, with 
similar corner design in squares. 1952. 

1964-35-19 A and B 

31. Place mat 

Light brown silk, with applied twist of straw, wound 
with gold, in meandering pattern, and edged with gold 
braid. 1952. 1964-35-20 

32. Place mat 

Grey Italian straw, with couched silver cord in meander- 
ing pattern; design of circles enclosing stars. 1952. 

1964-35-21 

33. Place mat 

Brown cotton, with applied design in wliite shell pattern, 
and worked in white and brown cotton. Napkin of white 
cotton embroidered in shell motif in brown. 1952. 

1964-35-lS A and B 

34. Place mat 

Brown cotton with applied border ot white cotton, 
stitched on with brown cotton thread. 1952. 

1964-35-17 

35. Place mat 

Yellow linen with applique pattern in colors, offish and 
patches, loosely embroidered over with colored and 
metallic cords. 1952. 1964-35-15 

36. 37. Panels, minnows in a net 

Natural color linen with applique pattern oi iisli and 
patches of various materials in colors; embroidered 




No. 40 



loosely over this design with colored yarns and string to 
simulate a net. 1952. Jp6'?-J.')-7 and -S 

38. Curtain 

Brown fdet decorated at bottom with design of min- 
nows IN A net; apphque pattern of fish in various 
colors, embroidered over in a loose stitch to simulate a 
net. 1953. ig64-3S-6 

39. In 1952, at the office of House Beautiful, Mariska 
Karasz demonstrated her ability to guide a group of 
people completely untrained with the needle to a quick 
comprehension of creative embroidery and its pleasure. 
Using unconventional threads and materials, and empha- 
sizing freedom and the production of textural effects, her 
pupils in tliis experiment produced, on the theme of 
"The Fish," some of the examples shown here. 

ig64-44-i through -6 



EVA KOHLMARK (Sweden) 

40. Round pillow cover, dillkrona (Dili)* 

White linen, embroidered in wliite and shades of green 

and grey; pattern of open flower head. 1950-1960. 

19O4-35-23 




No. 41 




No. 42 



ANN-MARI KORNERUP (Denmark) 

41. Hanging, grandmother and children with 

TULIPS* 

Wool, slit tapestry weave in shades of red, orange, pink, 
violet, grey, brown and green. 1950-1960. ig&4-24-%i 



EDNA MARTIN (Sweden) 

42. Round pillow cover, SOLROS (Sunflower)* 
Linen, deep cream color, embroidered in shades of grey, 
orange and wliite; wheel pattern. 1950-1960. 

1964-35-22 

43. Square piUow cover, SALAMI 

Linen, deep cream color, with centre panel of dark green 
linen ; embroidered in white and shades of yellow, pink 
and grey ; pattern of diamonds and styhzed flower sprays. 
1950-1960. 1964-3^-24 



MARJATTA METSOVAARA-NYSTROM 

(Finland) 

44. Four samples of upholstery material 

Linen, wool, cotton and novelty yarn in satin and tapestry 
weaves. 1958-1963. 1964-3^36 through -39 

45. Six samples of material for screen or wall covering 
Wool, Hnen, synthetic fibers, glass, aluminum, copper, 
straw and wire. 1958-1963. 1964-3S-40 through -45* 



BARBRO NILSSON (Sweden) 

46. Hanging, yellow ovoids 

Wool in tapestry weave, in ycUow, white, grey and 

green. 1950-1960. 1964-24-42 




I 

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No. 47 



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No. 4S (detail) 




No. 49 



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No. 57 (detail) 



No. ^<.A 



47. Rug sample, yellow ovoids* 52. Square pillow 

Wool and linen, tapestry weave in yeUow, white, grey Grey cotton, machine embroidered in black, wliite, grey 

and green. 1950-1960. 1^64-24-43 and light brown; abstract design. 1962. ig64-3y^ 



MARIANNE RICHTER (Sweden) 

4>S. Hangmg, motley birds* 

Wool, slit tapestry weave in various colors. About i960. 

1964-24-44 



FRANCES ROBINSON (Umted States) 

49. Panel* 

Black silk, machine embroidered in wliite, pale blue, 
brown and purple; abstract design of circles, ovals, and 
oblong shapes. 1962. jp(J.j_j5_j 

50. Place mat 

Pale blue linen, applique border, machine embroidered 
in colors. 1962. 1964-^^,-4 

5 1 . Round pillow 

Cotton, applique pattern, machine embroidered in vari- 
ous colors. 1962. ig 6^- :;:;.:; 



ASTRID SAMPE (Sweden) 

53. Place mat or napkin, LINNEA 

Linen damask in white and cream color. About i960. 

1964-24-33 

54. Napkins 

Wliite linen damask. About i960. 1964-24-^4 A and B 

55. Place mats with designs from medieval Sv/edish 
seals; woven for the Swedish Pavihon at the New York 
World's Fair, 1964. Linen damask in light brown and 
white. 1963-1964. ig64-24-3s A* through D 

56. Table cloth and napkin 

Linen damask in yellow and white. About 1956. 

1964-24-63 A and B 

KIRSTEN STRAND (Norway) 



57. Table mat* 

Dark blue linen embroidered 

colored hncns. About 1964. 



itli black and various 
1964-24-32 



H 



No. 5S 



LENORE TAWNEY (United States) 

58. Hanging, spring thaw* 

Linen, wool and goat's hair; tapestry weave in white and 
light shades of purple, blue and green. 1959-1960. 

ig64-24-64 

59. Hanging, vitae 

Linen, wool and silk; open weave construction in white 
and shades of grey and light brown. 1959-1960. 

1964-24-65 

60. Hanging, reflections 

Linen, wool and rayon; tapestry weave in brilliant shades 
of red. 1959-1960. 1964-24-66 

61. Demonstration piece 

Linen, wool and silk ; open weave construction in various 
colors. 1960. 1964-24-67 

62. Demonstration piece 

Linen, silk and wool ; open weave construction in various 
colors, i960. 1964-24-68 



ANONYMOUS 

63. Pincushion 

White linen, embroidered in colored wools; design of 
tree with bird and dog; pins as part of pattern. Denmark. 
1950-1950. 1964-3^11 



ORIENTAL TEXTILES 

With one exception, these are Japanese. 

64. Lengths of materials for use in ynkatas 

Cotton, in dark blue, dark brown and white. 1950-1960. 
1964-24-11 through -13 

65. Lengths of materials for use in ynkatas 

Synthetic fibers and cotton, tabby weave, one black, one 
white. 1950-1960. 1964-24-14 and -24 

66. Length for kimono 

Silk, tabby weave, in shades of brown. 1950-1960. 

1964-24-13 

67. Kimono sleeve fragments 

Silk and metal, embroidered and tie-dyed. 17th and 1 8th 
century. 1^64-24-1 and -y 

68. Fragment of if//»o;w 

Silk, natural dyes, ribbed; pattern achieved by pressing 
silk against wild grass and wood grain. 1950-1960. 

1964-24-9 

69. Lengths of materials for use in obis 

Silk and metal, twill weave and brocading. Late 19th and 
30th century. 1964-24-17, -18, -26, -27 

70. Group of panels, made from obi materials 

Silk and metal, tabby weave and brocading. Late 19th- 
carly 20th century. 1964-24-19 through -23 



15 



71. Panel 

Silk and metal, twill weave, in white, pale green and gold. 
Late iSth century. 1964-24-S 

72. Priest's robe 

Silk and metal, satin weave, in shades of apricot, blue, 
yellow and green ; brocaded in gold. Late I Sth-early 1 9th 
century. 1964-24-^ 

73 . Material for zabiiton (floor cushions) 

Raw silk, tabby weave, in gradations of violet. 1950- 
1960. 1964-24-16 

74. Fragment 

Synthetic fibers and metal, tabby weave with brocaded 
signature. 1950-1960. 1964-24-^1 



75. Hanging, warriors 

Silk and metal, k'o-ssii (slit tapestry). China, 20th century. 

1964-24-29 

76. Hanging, mount Fuji and dragons 
Embroidered in silk; couching and laid work, 19th 
century. 1964-24-30 

77. Book, THE JAPANESE ART OF KUSAKI-ZOME NIPPON 
COLOURS 

By Akira Yamazaki; publ. Getumei-Kai, Kamakura, 
Japan. 1959. 1964-24-2 

78. Book, NIPPON HAND WEAVES IN KUSAKI-ZOME 
DYES 

By Akira Yamazaki; publ. Getumei-Kai, Kawasaki, 
Japan. 1959. 1964-24-3 



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Photography by George D. Coiudery, New York 
Printed by Clarke & Way, Inc., New York 



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